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POP MUSIC REVIEW

Ministry still preaches with gloomy resolve

Industrial-rock pioneers thrash out a set at House of Blues, complete with politics.

March 24, 2003|Lina Lecaro | Special to The Times

Like its uproariously intense music, the career of Chicago's industrial-rock pioneer Ministry has been a wild ride. The group has been welding metallic riffs and gloomy melodies onto thrashy electronic rhythms for more than 20 years, inspiring the likes of Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Static-X in the process.

Ministry has never matched the success of its imitators, though it did produce some real classic albums, such as the sample-packed "The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste" and the clamorous "Psalm 69." On its new album, "Animositisomina," the group finally seems to have climbed through the morass of distractions -- mainly an excess of drugs and bizarre side projects -- to find its creative fury again, and at the House of Blues on Saturday they demonstrated that they've still got plenty of mechanical wrath to spew.

Though leader Al Jourgensen, longtime partner Paul Barker and their caustic cohorts -- two drummers, two guitarists, a bassist and a sampler/keyboardist -- took the stage half an hour earlier than scheduled, their riveting performance and comprehensive song selection was enough to sate even those who missed the first part of the set.

The highlights came later anyway, with "Psalm's" ominous tracks including "Just One Fix" and "NWO (New World Order)" epitomizing the group's gift for beat-driven chaos, the latter displaying an eerie timeliness -- it was written about George Bush senior during the first Gulf War. Every lacerating tune was punctuated by images of violence, sex and politics on a giant screen behind the band, certifying Ministry's latest pandemonium as anything but mindless.

*

Ministry

Where: House of Blues, 8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood

When: Tonight, 6:30 p.m.

Price: $27.50

Contact: (323) 848-5100

Also

Where: House of Blues Anaheim, 530 S. Disneyland Drive, Anaheim

When: Wednesday, 8 p.m.

Price: $27.50

Contact: (714) 778-2583

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